Avalanche, 2011
Polaroid
3.25 x 4.25 inches
Edition of 3

Sean McFarland makes images that are part theatrical gesture and part document. In a complex melding of techniques, the artist has created something innovative. Collaging impossible pictures - manipulating images either digitally or manually - and then taking a Polaroid of that image, the artist creates a multi-layered fabrication of sites that seem deceptively, engagingly authentic. The first San Franciscan being honored with a 2009 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers for his work in this realm, McFarland thinks about how to incorporate the experiential nature of Polaroids into the natural world. His work begs the question: Can nature really exist in any natural state - or is it somehow all legislated?

Born in Southern California, McFarland currently lives and works in San Francisco.  McFarland earned his under graduate degree from Humboldt State University, and his MFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco.  McFarland's has received several prestigious awards including the 2011 Eureka Fellowship from The Fleishhacker Foundation, an invitation to the 2011 Bay Area Now: 6 biennial exhibition at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, the 2009 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, the 2009 John Guttman Photography Fellowship, the 2005 Phelan Art Award in Photography from the San Francisco Foundation and SF Camerawork, the 2004 Fellowship from the National Photography Institute at Columbia University. In 2010, McFarland was a finalist for the SFMOMA's Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award.  McFarland's residencies include the Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA and the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (forthcoming, 2011). McFarland's work has exhibited internationally over the past ten years and has been collected by several public and private collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art Library, the Oakland Museum, Humboldt State University, University of California Davis and Genentech.